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The Fourth Way to Nowhere

- the search for cosmic consciousness and the triumph of the ordinary -
a quest for the meaning of life, a critical analysis of the teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, and my twenty-seven-year membership of a fourth way cult

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In this blog I am serialising some chapters of my book, The fourth way to nowhere.

Publication date 7 September 2021
Book links:
or search on Martin Braybrooke

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The book is a careful critique of a whole set of beliefs related to, but not exclusive to, the fourth way path of inner development. At the same time it is a personal history of how the author, despite a modern education, got drawn into a cult, and believed (to quote the White Queen in Alice), at least ‘six impossible things before breakfast.’

Those readers already familiar with the fourth way, and perhaps even members of one or other of the organisations that have sprung up in connection with it, should find the analysis in these pages useful and perhaps challenging. There are indeed ideas in the fourth way worth considering, not least the idea of self-remembering, which has a lot in common with more recent movements such as mindfulness. There are other ideas which are questionable, or remain to be proven, such as the fourth state of consciousness or the idea of recurrence: Ouspensky’s version of re-incarnation. No genuine seeker after truth should be deterred from asking her- or himself, “what do I really know, what is merely provisional, and what is likely to turn out to be wrong?”

This is also a plea that one aim of any spiritual or psychological practice or movement should be kindness, if humanity is to survive the various catastrophes that now threaten it, and an assertion that aspirants to self-development can arrive, with the right efforts, at a place where it is no small achievement to be content to being ordinary.

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As Alice might have said, “What is the use of a book without footnotes?” The book has footnotes (omitted from the extracts in this blog), sometimes referring the reader to original sources, sometimes to expand on incidents in the Fourth Way school of which I was a member, and sometimes to expand critically on the Fourth Way ideas. 

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  1. Lord Sprocket, I have edited your comment because you try to guess my secret identity. Please respect it. This is the rest of what you wrote: "Tis Lord Sprocket here. Enjoying your blog. How do you sign up to it?" The answer is that the widget that used to allow sign-ups has been removed by Google unless I pay them the necessary money. However for the time being I am releasing a new post every Thursday.

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3.2: Influence C in the Fellowship

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20: True and false personality

According to the System we are born without personality, which the Fellowship calls false personality. As babies we are in essence: intelligent but guileless. Personality is a mask through which we deal with the world and behind which we hide. In Grimm’s fairytale of that name, Maid Maleen refuses to marry the man her father the king has chosen for her. Instead she is in love with the true prince. To prevent this marriage the king locks Maid Maleen and her maidservant in a stone tower with sufficient food for seven years. The true prince rides past and calls her name, but she cannot hear him because of the thickness of the walls. In the terms of the fourth way system, Maid Maleen could be seen as essence seeking the fulfilment of her full potential, represented by the prince. The stone tower represents the protection from the outside world by personality that essence hides behind. A catastrophic war follows in which the kingdom is laid waste apart from the tower itself. What prompts M

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